Fast for Families, an immigration reform advocacy group that believes in the non-violent, fasting measures used by Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to create social change, has started the second phase of their campaign.
The group launched the “Fast for Families Across America” national bus tour on Monday, hoping to travel to more than 100 congressional districts in order to engage voters in supporting comprehensive immigration reform.
“We want House Speaker John Boehner to understand that we have come too far, too many people have suffered, we have struggled too hard, too many people have died, to give up now,” said Service Employees International Union international Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina. “We will keep fighting as long as it takes to make sure America can be the nation of our dreams where everyone is respected, everyone is valued, everyone is welcome.”
The bus tour will be making their way through Texas, stopping in several key districts with Republican members that have contributing in the stalling of immigration reform efforts.
Read more about the efforts and the locations in Texas where the tour will make stops below the jump.The group held a rally outside of the Los Angeles City Hall on Monday afternoon to kick off the bus tour. With immigration reform stalled in the House, it is becoming increasingly clear Speaker John Boehner is succumbing to Tea Party pressure by refusing to bring reform up for a vote.
“We do have the votes for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Rep. Judy Chu, (D-Pasadena, CA), at the rally. “We have 200 Democrats, we have 26 Republicans, and you need only 218 votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done – but what we need is for Speaker Boehner to put this bill on the floor.”
The bus tour will be traveling for around six weeks, with two buses taking opposite routes covering the northern and southern borders. The tour will come to an end in Washington, D.C. in April, around Cesar Chavez Day. Members will still be Congress, shortly to return to their districts for recess break.
Along the southern tour, the group will be making stops on the following congressmen's districts in Texas:
– Congressman Blake Farenthold (CD-27) in Corpus Christi on March 5th;
– Congressman Pete Olson (CD-22) in Sugar Land on March 6th;
– Congressman Randy Weber (CD-14) in Galveston on March 7th;
– Congressmen John Carter (CD-32) and Bill Flores (CD-17) in Temple and Waco on March 10th;
– Congressmen Joe Barton (CD-6) and Sam Johnson (CD-3) in Arlington and Plano on March 11th.
These districts are key in part because of the leverage the Congressmen have in pushing forward immigration reform efforts. Recently, Congressman John Carter said he thought Republican elections were more important than passing immigration reform, despite earlier being in the group arranging the formation of such House bill. In the past, the majority of voters in Congressional Districts 22 and 27 have shown wanting Farenthold and Olson to support immigration reform, with neither of them budging.
Immigration reform activists and supporters are looking at the November elections to make their voices be known once again.
“Immigrant families across this country are suffering separation because we have a cruel and very effective enforcement machine that churns out millions of deportees,” said Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles. “The existing immigration system is all enforcement and no humanity.”
“Whether here on the streets, or on the bus, or in November at the polls, we will win justice.”